Orzo Pasta Salad w/ Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

DSC_0237For My Sara:

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for.” 

As the summer is fast approaching, I know you probably have a ton of get-togethers, parties, showers, and birthdays to attend because, well, I do too. Summer is the time for celebrations and festivities and the warm sunny weather acts as a tiny bonus canopy for us to play under. One of the things I am most looking forward to is my best friend Sara’s baby shower. She is due in July to welcome her tiny baby girl, Rylee James. I could not be more excited, thrilled, overjoyed, elated and all the other synonyms for “so freaking happy” that exist. Sara is one of the most kind and compassionate women I know and her patience amazes me everyday. This little girl will grow up to be and incredible woman because of her kind mother. I feel nervous and anxious for the day she is born as I hope to be an important role model and guide in her life. I hope I get to see her as often as possible and that she will know she can always come to me for advice. I can promise that I will always be someone she can confide in I will always listen without judgement. She can tell me her secrets and I’ll swear to not to tell her mother (but I totally will Sara, don’t worry). I honestly can not wait to meet her. Rylee has a world full of love to come out to and she will be one blessed baby! 

So, because of these momentous occasions, I figured we all needed a good pasta salad recipe for the large crowd affairs. Who doesn’t love a perfect one-bowl dish that can serve up to ten people?? I know I do, but I am always looking for something different to bring to the table. After all, how many times can a girl eat that same old boring potato salad or those mayo-filled deviled eggs? It is time for a new side and it comes in the form of a delicious pasta salad with fresh herbs, sweet peas, crunchy kale, and crispy chickpeas all dressed in a sun-dried tomato pesto. This pasta salad is where it is at, people! It has incredible flavors that hit all over your mouth and will keep your friends asking you for the recipe. I am most definitely bringing this salad to my BFF’s shower and I can’t wait to share it. The sun-dried tomato pesto makes a lot so feel free to save a bit as a spread on sandwiches or for an accoutrement for cheese and crackers. You won’t want to lose any to the sink, that is for sure. I hope that the summer greets you all with love and friendship and that you spend your days counting your blessings, as I know I will. 

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Orzo Pasta Salad w/ Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Serves 10


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Cook Time
40 min

Total Time
1 hr

Cook Time
40 min

Total Time
1 hr

For the Crispy Chickpeas
  1. 1 15oz can Organic Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
  2. 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1/2 tsp curry powder
  4. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1/2 tsp cumin
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 tsp pepper
For the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
  1. 1 7oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil (use entire jar and oil)
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. 2 super packed TBSPs fresh basil, roughly chopped
  4. 1/4 + 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp pepper
For the Pasta Salad
  1. 1lb Orzo
  2. 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves sliced thin (chiffonade style)
  3. 1 cup fresh English peas
  4. 4 green onions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
  5. .75oz fresh mint, finely chopped (see note)*
  6. .75oz fresh cilantro, finely chopped (see note)*
  7. 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp pepper
For the Crispy Chickpeas
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Drain and rinse the chickpeas a few times under cold water. Lay the chickpeas out on a paper towel and dry them. Add the chickpeas to a small bowl and drizzle the olive oil and add the spices. Stir to combine and then lay them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating them every 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
  1. Combine all the ingredients into the blender and blend for a few minutes, scraping the sides as needed, until fully combined. The pesto will be thick. Set aside.
Salad Assembly
  1. Cook the orzo per package directions. Drain and rinse and add to a large bowl. Add all of the tomato pesto to the warm orzo (about 1.5 cups). Toss well to coat. Add the English peas, kale, herbs and crispy chickpeas, toss to combine. To finish the salad, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Toss one more time and then place in an air-tight container in the fridge. Serve cold or at room-temp. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This dish serves up to ten people as a side.
  2. Trader Joe’s sells their organic herbs in little plastic packages that weigh .75oz. Use the entire pack for the mint and cilantro.
  3. This salad can be made a day ahead before serving. I recommend drizzling a bit more olive and adding a little more salt and pepper (to taste) to liven the pasta up, if serving the next day. I like mine drizzled with a bit of Sriracha for some heat but that is totally optional.
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